The supply chain, while not directly impacted by the daily shifts in the DOW, must adapt to pressures created by fluctuations driven by this data. In a blog post published by Arkieva they noted that supply chain operations will battle smaller top lines, reduced bottom lines and less cash/ more costs. While these challenges may seem daunting for even the biggest and most efficient supply chain there are many opportunities for operational improvement during an economic downturn.
One opportunity for SCM improvement that spans across the entire supply chain is the implementation of industry best practices. These methods have proven successful in improving overall efficiency and productivity. Another opportunity for supply chain improvement is the implementation of supply chain software to create a flexible, scalable supply chain. Many operators make the mistake of drastically cutting staff, working hours or facilities and this often creates more problems in the long term. Utilizing ERP or WMS software allows SCM businesses to quickly and easily scale operations to save capital without cutting physical assets or critical staff. Controlling cost to serve while keeping in mind the importance of maintaining customer and partner relationships is also a strong opportunity for cost savings during lagging economic times. It is cheaper to maintain these existing relationships than find and develop new ones so it is critical to keep lines of communication open and expectations clear. Many supply chains also reconsider their commodity management strategies during times of stress and often choose to reduce on-hand inventories to minimize holding costs. This is an effective strategy if well managed to prevent out-of-stock scenarios. Lastly, preparing for the inevitable economic rebound is vital. Focus on strategic hiring and employee retention efforts and invest in both long term and short term projects. Do not be short-sighted and consider only the short term repercussions of your supply chain strategies.
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